Last year, Google invested more than $915 million in clean energy projects — solar, wind and transmission.
That’s a lot of money, even for Google, which had $38 billion in revenues in 2011. The investments don’t appear to be core to the company’s mission of organizing information, and they have attracted criticism, as well as some careless reporting, implying that the Internet giant is exiting the alternative energy business.
Denver-based New Town Builders have created a net zero energy house that has been designed to save a lot of energy and help preserve precious resource. The Zero Energy Home will leave eco lovers in a state of complete amazement as it takes energy efficiency to an all new scale.
According to a study conducted by ICF, a consulting firm for the US Department of Defense, surplus land at four military bases in the Mojave desert in California could be capable of producing up to 7 Gigawatts of solar power. These bases include, the Edwards Air Force base, Fort Erwin, China Lake and Twenty-nine Palms. Some 37,873 acres of land is available for setting these solar power plants, without impacting the space needs of the military for its ongoing operational needs or for potential future needs. The type of solar power plant to be installed, whether silicon flat panels or solar concentrators, has not yet been determined. If the go-ahead happens, power plant construction could commence by 2015.
Some more astonishing stats on the progress Germany is making on solar power thanks to good, steady and predictable renewable energy policy: Greentech Media shares the astonishing fact that in the month of December alone Germany installed 2 GW of solar PV. For the whole of 2011, Germany installed 7 GW.
The US managed to install 1.7 GW in the same time period—which isn’t to knock US installation rates so much as to further highlight the massive Germany push to install more PV before the feed-in tariff for it drop as planned.
Renewable resources and non renewable resources are at two ends of a tug-of-war battle. While the latter is presently being used to an exhaustive extent, the former is still trying to find a prominent place in the list of energy sources. Conventional sources like coal have been used for a number of decades to power industries and homes. Its abundance and cheap cost is what propelled many to turn to it in the first place. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries saw huge amounts of coal being used to drive countries like Britain to the forefront of progress. Earlier, this natural resource was used in small quantities and coal could be mined from close to the surface of the earth. However, as demands increased, there was a need to drill ever deeper.
With the ever-increasing environmental awareness, design houses and architects from around the globe are looking for new and innovative ways to give an eco friendly touch to their creations. Every other day, we get to see and hear of amazing examples of solar energy being integrated into residential, commercial and industrial applications. The efforts are on to exploit the solar power in every possible way for the benefit of Mother Nature and the human race. Some designers have even come up with creative sculptures that are designed to run on solar energy. Check out some of the best solar powered sculptures after the jump.
Flexible thin-film solar PV manufacturer Ascent Solar Technologies announced yesterday that China’s TFG Radiant Group is acquiring an additional 21% equity stake in the company by purchasing shares owned by Norsk Hydro Produksjon AS for $4 million. The purchase price, at about $0.50 per share, is a 19% premium to Nasdaq-listed Ascent’s $0.42 closing share price on Tuesday, and will bring TFG’s overall equity in Ascent to 41%.
India seems to aim higher and think bigger in terms of its solar energy: from a set goal of 20 GW, the National Solar Mission grew its prospects to 33.4 GW all around the country, according to a report by Bridge to India.
The first step is to have 14.15 GW by 2018. By then, solar energy will have its own respected place on the national grid and more progress will have been made regarding the emissions level.
This will be possible due to the increased production of PV cells and the possibility of cheap imports from China. The final cost is estimated at around 40% less than what it is now.
Spanish venture is as big as 210 football pitches and has 600,000 mirrors. But there’s a dark side
Just under a month ago, on an empty mountain plateau in Andalusia, the last of 600,000 parabolic mirrors were connected, and Andasol, the world’s largest solar power station, become operational. It is, as it glints in the Spanish sun, a shining example – literally – of what renewable energy offers.
Big almost beyond belief, it is powerful, clean and looks unlike any power station you could ever imagine. Spread over terrain which covers the equivalent of 210 football pitches, there is nothing to see behind the security fences and drainage ditches but interminable lines of gleaming, eerily silent, parabolic mirrors. They gyrate simultaneously to follow the sun’s path through the sky – for all the world like an enormous Star Wars android army awaiting orders from above to destroy the local populace.
From the 16th to the 19th of January, twenty renewable energy and cleantech developers from across Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE and USA will showcase cutting-edge projects and conduct full business presentations at the Project Village at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2012 in Abu Dhabi.
With 1 GW worth of of renewable projects being showased at the Project Village, the presentations represent a gigantic amount of local Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region renewable energy.
Developing countries have overtaken developed ones in the growth of renewable projects, and the MENA region is key for the development of renewables.
As mentioned in my 2012 solar energy expectations yesterday, I think India’s got a good chance of shooting onto the solar power map this year. Following up on solar in India, a recent report by Bridge to India estimates that the country will have 33.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar power installed by 2022, far more than the 20 GW that are targeted by India’s National Solar Mission (NSM).
The Zibo city of China is ready to share expertise for setting up solar energy projects in Hyderabad, according to Dr Wang Jianzhong, deputy director of the Zibo Municipal Foreign Affairs Office.
Speaking at a reception given in his honour by the Hyderabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry (HCCI), he said Zibo was one of the most important industrial cities of China.
He said that in the trade with Pakistan, Zebo mainly imported cotton and exported medicines, industrial equipment and other goods.
There are many new technologies being developed to create cheaper, more efficient solar panels – however researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory just announced that they have found a way to create more efficient photovoltaic cells using 50% less energy. The technique hinges upon a new optical furnace that uses intense light instead of a conventional furnace to heat silicon to make solar cells. The new furnace utilizes “highly reflective and heat-resistant ceramics to ensure that the light is absorbed only by a silicon wafer, not by the walls inside the furnace.”
The Düsseldorf International Airport is about to flip the switch on one of the largest solar arrays in Germany. The 8,400 panel, 2 megawatt solar array spans the space of six soccer fields, and it was finished in time to start feeding power to the grid before the clock strikes 2012. To prove the solar array’s everyday worth, the airport has installed a real time statistics ticker in the airport lobby so passengers can see how much energy it is creating and how much carbon dioxide is being diverted from the atmosphere.